This week’s blog is a celebration of the life of John Ono Lennon featuring material gathered from various websites plus a section by Little Eddy. We begin with Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lennon
“John Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon), MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980), was an English songwriter, singer, musician, graphic artist, author and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as one of the founders of The Beatles. Lennon and Paul McCartney formed a critically acclaimed and commercially successful partnership writing songs for The Beatles and other artists.  Lennon, with his cynical edge and knack for introspection, and McCartney, with his storytelling optimism and gift for melody, complemented each other.  In his solo career, Lennon wrote and recorded songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine."
“Lennon revealed his rebellious nature and irreverent wit on television, in films such as A Hard Day's Night (1964), in books such as In His Own Write, and in press conferences and interviews. He channelled his fame and penchant for controversy into his work as a peace activist, artist, and author.
“He had two sons, Julian, with his first wife Cynthia, and Sean, with his second wife, avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman in New York City on 8 December 1980 as he and Ono returned home from a recording session.
“Lennon was considered the leader of The Beatles, as he founded the original group. McCartney said, "We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader – he was the quickest wit and the smartest and all that kind of thing.
“In 2002, respondents to a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted Lennon into eighth place. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Lennon number 38 on their list of "The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time" and ranked The Beatles at number 1.”
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http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/john-lennon From Lennon’s page:
“John Lennon didn’t invent rock and roll, nor did he embody it as toweringly as figures like Elvis Presley and Little Richard, but he did more than anyone else to shake it up, move it forward and instill it with a conscience. As the most daring and outspoken of the four Beatles, he helped shape the agenda of the Sixties – socially and politically, no less than musically. As a solo artist, he made music that alternately disturbed and soothed, provoked and sought community. As a human being, he served as an exemplar of honesty in his art and life.
“As Jann Wenner wrote in the foreword to a collection of writings entitled The Ballad of John and Yoko, “Of the many things that will be long remembered about John Lennon – his genius as a musician and singer, his wit and literary swiftness, his social intuition and leadership – among the most haunting was the stark, unembarrassed commitment of his life, his work and his undernourished frame to truth, to peace and to humanity.”
“Lennon was born in 1940 during the Nazi bombing of Britain and given the middle name Winston, after prime minister Churchill (he would later change his middle name to Ono). At age five, Lennon was sent to live with his “Aunt Mimi” after his parents separated. In 1956, Aunt Mimi bought Lennon a guitar. His incessant playing prompted her to remark, “The guitar’s all very well as a hobby, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.” That same year, Lennon formed his first group, the Quarrymen, which evolved into the Beatles.
“Having experienced the horror of a world at war as a child and then living through the Vietnam era as a young man, Lennon came to embrace and embody pacifism. His was the voice and vision that powered such Beatles classics as “All You Need Is Love” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Yet Lennon also had a dark side that found expression in pained outcries dating as far back as “Help,” and his was the most naturally adventuresome musical spirit in the band, as evidenced by such outré tracks as “I Am the Walrus” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” The uncensored, self-lacerating aspect of the Lennon persona reached a fevered pitch with the drug-withdrawal blues of “Cold Turkey,” a 1969 single released under the name Plastic Ono Band.
“Although Lennon was a complicated man, he chose after the Beatles to simplify his art in order to figure out his life, erasing the boundaries between the two. As he explained it, he started trying “to shave off all imagery, pretensions of poetry, illusions of grandeur ... Just say what it is, simple English, make it rhyme and put a backbeat on it, and express yourself as simply [and] straightforwardly as possible.” His most fully realized statement as a solo artist was 1970’s John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. It followed several collaborative sound collages recorded toward the end of the Beatles era with Yoko Ono, his wife and collaborator. The raw, confessional nature of Plastic Ono Band reflected the primal-scream therapy that Lennon and Ono had been undergoing with psychologist Arthur Janov. He dealt with such fundamental issues as “God” and “Mother” and the class system (“Working Class Hero”) on an album as full of naked candor as any in rock has ever been.”
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Doing a Google search on John Lennon brings up a number of interesting pages, one of which is the Official John Lennon website: http://www.johnlennon.com/site.html and another is it’s UK equivalent: http://www.johnlennon.it/homepage_eng.htm Below are some of the quotations which will appear on the first site as if the hand of Lennon was printing it in swift real time. These quotations, many of them on both of the above sites, paint as vivid a picture of Lennon the artist and the man as you are likely to find and make fascinating reading:
“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”. . . .“Part of me suspects I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”. . .“Possession isn’t nine-tenths of the law, it’s nine-tenths of the problem.”. . .“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
"I think the basic thing nobody asks is why do people take drugs of any sort? And that question has to be resolved before you can think, well, what can we do for the poor drug addict? Why do we have to have these accessories to normal living to live? I mean, is there something wrong with society that's making us so pressurized, that we cannot live without guarding ourselves against it?". . ."When you're drowning, you don't say 'I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,' you just scream."
"But nobody's perfect, etc., etc. Whether it's Janov or Erhardt or Maharishi or a Beatle. That doesn't take away from their message. It's like learning how to swim. The swimming is fine. But forget about the teacher. If the Beatles had a message, it was that. With the Beatles, the records are the point, not the Beatles as individuals. You don't need the package, just as you don't need the Christian package or the Marxist package to get the message. People always got the image I was an anti-Christ or antireligion. I'm not. I'm a most religious fellow. I was brought up a Christian and I only now understand some of the things that Christ was saying in those parables. Because people got hooked on the teacher and missed the message. All this bit about electing a President. We pick our own daddy out of a dog pound of daddies."
"We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep on watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it." . . "You can't cheat kids. If you cheat them when they're children they'll make you pay when they're sixteen or seventeen by revolting against you or hating you or all those so-called teenage problems. I think that's finally when they're old enough to stand up to you and say, 'What a hypocrite you've been all this time. You've never given me what I really wanted, which is you."
“You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are.”. . .“If you tried to give Rock and Roll another name you might call it Chuck Berry.”. . . “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted.”. . . “All art is pain expressing itself.”
“The thing that the sixties did was it showed us the possibilities, and the responsibilities we all had. It wasn’t the answer, it just gave us a glimpse of the possibilities.”. . .“There’s nothing you can know that’s not already known.”. . .“The more I see the less I know for sure.”. . . “You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.”
“It is for others to judge. I am doing it. I do. I don't stand back and judge – I do”. . . "It just was a gradual development over the years. I mean last year was 'all you need is love.' This year, it's 'all you need is love and peace, baby.' Give peace a chance, and remember Love. The only hope for us is peace. Violence begets violence. You can have peace as soon as you like if we all pull together. You're all geniuses, and you're all beautiful. You don't need anyone to tell you who you are. You are what you are. Get out there and get peace, think peace, and live peace and breathe peace, and you'll get it as soon as you like."
"I always was a rebel ... but on the other hand, I wanted to be loved and accepted ... and not just be a loudmouth, lunatic, poet, musician. But I cannot be what I am not." . . . "I don't intend to be a performing flea any more. I was the dreamweaver, but although I'll be around I don't intend to be running at 20,000 miles an hour trying to prove myself. I don't want to die at 40."
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And also from Wikipedia’s John Lennon page comes a most interesting item: In March 1974, during a jam session known as "The Jim Keltner Fan Club Hour," a most interesting lineup participated in what can be described as a "very loose" studio hour unfolded. The session, captured on tape and later released as a bootleg A Toot and a Snore in '74, featured Lennon on guitar and vocals, Harry Nilsson, Stevie Wonder, Jesse Ed Davis, Bobby Keys, Linda McCartney on keyboards and May Pang on tambourine. Paul McCartney played drums and the bass player was producer Ed Freeman. This was the one and only time Lennon and McCartney played together after the Beatles' split.
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There’s a social website for Lennon fans, at http: //www.bagism.com/art-n-poetry-11.html "Everybody's talking about Bagism..." – John Lennon – where many things, poetry, drawings, chat, etc. can be found, including the charcoal drawing of Lennon by Kristin Turberville which I used to illustrate this piece. Says Turberville, “I drew this in the November of 1998 with a very soft charcoal pencil. It's from the reverse cover of John's "Imagine"... so that's where the name came from. My inspiration was obviously, John Lennon. I have drawn many pictures of John and know his features like the back of my hand. I really liked drawing Imagine.” – Kristin Turberville
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LONDON: Imagine that. A lock of John Lennon's hair sold for $48,000 Wednesday in an auction of Beatles' memorabilia collected by the band's hairdresser. The hair _ inside an autographed copy of Lennon's book "A Spaniard in the Works" _ sold to an unnamed telephone bidder. Gorringes auction house had estimated the hair would sell for $4,000 to $6,000.
Elvis Still the King. Elvis Presley, who earned an estimated $49 million in the past 12 months, has reclaimed the No. 1 spot on Forbes.com's list of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. He last topped the list in 2005. John Lennon ranks second with earnings of $44 million, followed by Charles M. Schulz ($35 million), George Harrison ($22 million), Albert Einstein ($18 million), Andy Warhol ($15 million) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/john-lennon
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And the URL for the John Lennon museum in Japan is, http://www.taisei.co.jp/museum/index_e.html In its introductory words it says: “The John Lennon Museum opened to the public on October 9, 2000, the 60th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth. Approved formally by his partner Ms. Yoko Ono, it is the first museum of its kind anywhere in the world.
“As a major artist of the 20th century, John Lennon has influenced the world immensely, not only through his music, but also through other channels such as his art and peace campaigns. The Museum was designed in the hopes of accurately passing on his life and his works to the 21st century, and consists of 9 zones (where nearly 130 John Lennon memorabilia from Yoko’s treasured collection are on exhibit), the Museum Theater, and a space at the end - known as the Final Room where his messages are on display.
“Visitors will first watch a 7-minute film introducing the life of John Lennon at the Museum Theater, then go on to the Exhibit Zones, where they may appreciate the greatness of the man who died too early, through his beloved guitars, his costumes, the handwritten lyrics, and his film and music. On the pure white walls of the Final Room are John’s messages, taken from 28 of his compositions, and visitors can feel his spirit in a quiet environment, reflecting on their own lives through them.
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Last week’s blog was posted on December 8th, 2007. The day before, December 7, 1980, was the 39th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, a day which then president Franklin Roosevelt declared “a day that will live in infamy.”
But the next night, December 8, 1980 brought terrible, alm0st unthinkable news. It was the 27th anniversary of a night which will live in my own personal infamy, for it was the night that brought the news of the senseless murder of John Lennon. A voice which had stood so courageously for beauty and love and truth was forever silenced on that night. By the hand of a fat, squat nonentity named Mark David Chapman. Was Chapman a deranged ex-fan as the media of the time attempted to portray him? Or was he an assassin recruited by the tentacles of the same secret government entity which conspiracy theorists the world over have credited with a string of assassinations which include Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John and Bobby Kennedy? Slayings which revealed to the rest of the world that the once high and mighty United States of America was after all was said and done just another “Banana Republic.” The establishment would undoubtedly prefer to buy the deranged ex-fan theory, for it is comforting to not have to attribute so senseless a murder to forces as sinister as the above would imply. But there are clues which to me speak otherwise in a message loud and clear.
For one, Chapman was working as a night watchman in Hawaii before he suddenly grabbed a plane enroute to New York where he would hang out for several months, even getting Lennon’s autograph on an album, before doing his dreadful deed. Something or someone had to have financed his trip and his stay in New York City, it’s not very likely that he could have done that on the savings from a night watchman’s gig. Nor would he have had the motive, living in so remote a place. Lennon had come out of a self-imposed five year retirement as house parent just months before, to announce his return to recording and performing with the album Double Fantasy. But Chapman should not have felt the immediateness or seen Lennon’s reemergence as a threat in far away Hawaii.
During the assassination Chapman assumed the stance of a trained professional assassin, dropping to one knee to steady his hand, and calling out to Lennon. He wanted Lennon to have his last look of this life into the face of his killer. And in some of his post assassination ravings Chapman read mutterings of the usual right wing literary bogey man, J. D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye,” as if the mouthing of Salinger’s words would somehow verify his mental derangement. (Countless other right wing assassins had mouthed off portions of “Catcher in the Rye,” it is a guide post indicating purveyors of right wing mischief.)
If the killing of John Lennon was indeed an ordered assassination why should the man risk receiving a life in incarceration for a chance to be the triggerman? Chapman was promised eventual freedom of course, and there was a plan to do no less. A public television documentary would seem to reinforce the crazed fan image for the populace at large, and semi government entities would quietly arrange for his transfer from the prison system to a mental health facility, from which after a suitable interval had passed he could be declared to be no longer a risk to society and released. This plan actually went forward to the point of his being transferred to a mental institution, at which point the uproar caused by so transparent a maneuver caused the plan’s cancellation and his reinstatement into the prison system.
Why would the so-called secret government have loathed John Lennon to the point of seeking his assassination? Lennon was a loose cannon who had proven he could not be bought or controlled. And he had a huge personal following. During the Vietnam War his song, “Give Peace a Chance” became an anthem for the anti war movement, and he and his wife Yoko Ono had had the audacity to take out a huge sign on Broadway saying, “War is Over, if you want it!” For a complete background on the establishment’s feelings about John Lennon put the following URL into your favorite Bit Torrent search engine and download and watch the result:
All in all, John Lennon was a symbol of true independent thinking, and the anathema of the secret government forces which just the month before with the election of Ronald Reagan had scored a victory in the 1980 presidential election. And the secret government’s (from this point forward it will be referred to as “sg” in small letters) next clandestine war, a guerilla skirmish against Daniel Ortega’s left wing regime of Nicaragua was already in the planning stages as was assistance in the supression of the leftist movement in El Salvador. The specter of Lennon throwing a musical and lyrical monkeywrench into their grandiose plans must have had them quaking in their newly fitted combat boots.
The nearest they came to giving away their secret was in a letter sent to Ed Asner, the actor who played Lou Grant on a popular tv series at the time. Asner was attempting to arouse sympathy for the Nicaraguan cause by raising money for medical supplies t0 be sent to the already financially strapped government in Nicaragua. One night Asner spoke to tv news cameras on the evening news programs, reading aloud a letter he had received from persons unknown, a letter which said in effect, “we have just killed John Lennon, and if you (Asner) aren’t careful you will be next.”
My son Joel Alan Badeaux, a doctor in residence near Phoenix, AZ, is one of the most devoted conspiracy theorist’s on the Kennedy assassination that I know and although John Kennedy’s assassination took place well before he was born he has diligently collected every book and movie he could find on the subject. He knows Dealey Plaza like the palm of his hand and can tell you who was seen where and when. However, he remains a skeptic of my theory of the Lennon assassination, telling me in his opinion I am whistling “Dixie.” I remind him of my folk roots, and tell him Dixie is not so bad as music, only as a state of mind.
At any rate, in my opinion this is what personal blogging is all about, to expound a person’s unique points of view and especially those views which depart from the mainstream. To give adventuresome readers ideas and information he or she can get nowhere else. And to alert the public of the possibility that sg forces will most surely try and free Mark Chapman again and yet again, and it is up to those of us who make up the humanity that John Lennon sang to and celebrated to make sure that his killer doesn’t get a free pass past Go, but instead perpetually continues to enjoy the opportunity to rot in his own personal and richly deserved hell for every last minute of his original sentence. No less should be the wages of one so arrogant as to deprive the truly free world of so melodious and canny a voice. And although in general I frown upon capital punishment (as the innocent can fall into its trap and once a person is executed exoneration for innocence is no longer possible), however, in some specific cases where there is no doubt as to guilt, an eye for an eye and a life for a life doesn’t seem all that archaic after all.
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However Little Eddy is not alone in his attribution of Lennon’s slaying to an organized conspiracy. Illustrated with a photograph of Lennon and Ono’s famous WAR IS OVER If You Want It! sign which overlooked Broadway and sat next a U.S. Army recruiting headquarters, Mark R. Elsis on the fan website: http://www.john-lennon.com/ seconds our evaluation in a piece entitled: Who Authorized the Assassination of John Lennon? Mr. Elsis describes the assassination itself in graphic terms (the squeamish might want to skip over the next four paragraphs.)
“Jose Perdomo, the front doorman, leaves his post to open the limousine door for John and Yoko. Yoko Ono stepped out of the limousine first and John Lennon who is carrying a tape recorder and some cassettes followed a few steps behind. As Yoko passes him the assassin, says "Hello." Just as John passes him, the man steps from the sidewalk and from his pocket he takes out a 5 shot .38 revolver armed with hollow tip bullets. He drops into a combat stance, knees flexed, with one arm supporting the other at the wrist. He says, Mr. Lennon?
“Just as John turns, about 15 feet through the large arch with iron gates of the Dakota, the assassin fires two shots into the left side of his back. There's a crash of shattering glass as the bullets that pass through John's body smash into the Dakota's glass frontage. These two shots spin him around. He is now facing his assassin.
“Blood is already pouring out from the first two bullets and the four wounds, as the assassin takes aim at John again. He fires three more shots. Two of the bullets smash into John's left shoulder. The other goes astray. The greatest singer songwriter and the most influential political artist of our time staggers up six steps to the room at the end of the entrance used by the concierge, said, "I'm shot," then fell down.
“I'm shot,” he moans lying on the floor. “John's been shot,” screams Yoko. Jay Hastings the security man reaches under his desk and presses the alarm button, notifying the police from the nearby 20th Precinct. He then rushes to John's side and removes his blood stained glasses. Then he takes off his uniform jacket to cover him. He wants to use his tie as a tourniquet, but can't decide where to apply it.”
I can practically guarantee your surprise at the person Mr. Elsis identifies as the one responsible for authorizing Lennon’s assassination. I won’t give it away here, you’ll have to go to the website and read the piece for yourself to find out. Unfortunately, as the nursery rhyme says, All the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. But we can each remember John Lennon’s life and art in our own unique fashion, and we can honor it by attempting to live as exemplary and creative a life as we are able. And it wouldn’t be a bad thing if our society as a whole began putting a few more restrictions on the purchase of weapons which can be used to so freely murder the innocent. We subject automobile drivers to a test of skills, why not apply an equal measure of care to gun purchasers?
The Real Little Eddy